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More than 900 lethal weapons found in prisons

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The man, who has been named as Pascal Doyle from Carlow Town, was found unconscious in his cell by prison officers at 3.30am

The man, who has been named as Pascal Doyle from Carlow Town, was found unconscious in his cell by prison officers at 3.30am

The man, who has been named as Pascal Doyle from Carlow Town, was found unconscious in his cell by prison officers at 3.30am

More than 900 lethal weapons were seized from prisoners serving time in Irish jails last year.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that 914 weapons were recovered by prison officers during searches of inmates in the State's 14 jails during 2013.

The number represents a decrease from the 1,126 weapons that were seized from prisoners in the previous year.

The most commonly-seized weapons were makeshift daggers, which are fashioned from blades or sharpened objects attached to a small handle made from a toothbrush or pen.

More than 800 mobile phones were also confiscated from prisoners during raids by prison officers in 2013.

The number of mobile phone seizures has fallen steadily in recent years as part of a strategy by the Irish Prison Service (IPS) to clamp down on contraband in detention facilities.

"Since 2008, the Irish Prison Service has made extensive efforts to reduce the flow of contraband into prisons," said a spokesman for the IPS.

contraband

"A range of enhanced measures, including the establishment of a dedicated group of staff, was introduced in May 2008 with the aim of reducing the supply of contraband, including phones, into our prisons."

The number of mobile phones seized from inmates has fallen from 2,174 in 2008 to 805 last year - a reduction of 62pc.

"The measures also included the introduction of security screening areas in all closed prisons, the introduction of the canine unit, increased searching of cells and their occupants, and the installation of nets over exercise yards."

The number of weapons seized has also fallen from 1,126 in 2012 to 914 last year.

"Improvised weapons are the most commonly seized weapon," said the spokesman.

"These are usually sharpened pieces of plastic or timber or blades, which have been attached to a small handle such as a toothbrush or pen."

hnews@herald.ie


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